What's worse than dedicated Democrat progressives, or an in-the-tank media? A wimpy Republican party afraid to stand against either one.
Is there a better time to be a fiscal conservative than right now? The country is drowning red ink, millions of Americans are unemployed, and government--its ranks bloated with blood-sucking, unionized (and apparently immunized) public sector employees--is draining the life-blood out of the economy.
The perfect time for Republicans to draw a line in the fiscal sand and send Americans a clear message about their determination to resist fiscal Armageddon? Common sense would say yes. The Republican Party?
A big fat no.
The latest faux-stimulus, buy-a-constituency piece of garbage emanating from Washington D.C. was a ten billion dollar spending bill that one Republican Senator, Jim Bunning (R-KY), decided to use as a test case: first for Democrats who had passed pay-as-you-go legislation the previous week, and second for his fellow Republicans who would like Americans to believe they believe in fiscal responsibility.
The principle involved was stunningly simple. If you jack up the deficit by another ten billion dollars here, then find ten billion dollars in spending cuts to offset it somewhere else.
Democrats? The predictable hypocrisy: there was "nowhere" to come with ten billion dollars in cuts--in a trillion-and-a-half dollar federal budget, forty percent of which is being paid for with borrowed money. Pay-as-you-go? Another empty promise made by a Democrat party very comfortable with the idea that empty promises, much like the lie repeated often enough, are just as effective as telling the truth.
Republicans? The same spineless cowards who fold at the first sign of adversity, whether it comes from Democrats or their media shills--even when they have the majority of the public solidly in their corner. The same bunch who have told us they "learned their fiscal lesson," but can't even muster the courage to demand Democrats stand by their own legislation. Bunning wasn't just sold down the river by Democrats. His fellow Republicans decided "looking mean" wasn't a viable tradeoff--for doing the right thing.
The Republican party may not realize it, but the 2010 election could very well be their last chance to remain a viable political entity. Democrats aren't merely attempting to pass healthcare legislation or run trillion dollar deficits because they "care" about their fellow Americans. They're making an historical attempt to engineer a permanent, one-party majority in Washington, D.C. One in which Republicans will be reduced to window-dressing for the sake of providing the illusion of an opposition party.
You would think the specter of ongoing political impotency would engender a full speed ahead, go-for-broke, tell-it-like-it-is urgency among Republicans. If the Bunning episode is any indication, you would be wrong. Pathetic? Certainly. But cynicism is the big motivator here, the essence of which can be reduced to this:
Vote for us in November, because we suck less than Democrats.
Maybe so, in a methadone-addiction-is-better-than-a-heroine-addiction kind of way. But in the end you've still got a habit, even if your drug of choice is more "respectable."
Memo to Republicans: cynicism is a one-election political strategy. What looks like magic in 2010 won't be worth a damn in 2012. By then Americans are going to want alternative ideas, not just an alternative political party. If Republicans can't go cold turkey regarding unconscionable spending, who the hell needs them?
Ironically, the same strategy Democrats are currently employing, as in take a beating in November but get American socialism permanently entrenched via healthcare, will work quite well for another political entity. But it won't be the Republicans. It will likely be the Tea Party, whose power will increase in direct proportion to Americans' growing disgust with progressive Democrats' inevitable failure to fix the country. And it is inevitable, because, as Margaret Thatcher once remarked, you eventually run out of other peoples' money to spend. Or in this particular case, when China and others decide once and for all to stop underwriting a spendthrift, deadbeat American government.
At that point, someone will step in and fill the political vacuum. Republicans think it will be them--simply because there's no one else. They may also think a ten billion dollar cave-in might not say much in the grand scheme of things, but I'll tell you what it says to this American:
Its time to take third-party politics seriously.
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